“2019 Summer Law Clerk Feature”: Tulane, Southern Students Share What They Learned

June 20, 2019

As part of Taylor Porter's annual summer law clerk program, our Firm hosted eight students from five law schools for the first session, including Tulane University Law School student Connor Rabalais and Southern University Law Center student Darryl Cage.

Under the guidance of practicing Taylor Porter attorneys and mentors, law clerks gain hands-on experience and interaction that reflect real life as a lawyer. The work ranges from case research to legal writing to shadowing attorneys at depositions, hearings, and oral arguments, and speaking with both Taylor Porter partners and associates one-on-one and learning about their personal experiences.

We asked both Connor and Darryl to share what they have learned through our summer law clerk program.

Connor Rabalais, Tulane 1L
Connor Rabalais completed his first year at Tulane University Law School. He received the CALI Excellence Award for highest grade in Civil Procedure. Connor attended LSU for undergrad and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Finance. 

What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? Coming into my clerkship I had not narrowed down the practice areas that I was interested in and I wanted to experience whatever I was given. Because of my interest and experience with my undergraduate degree in Finance, I do have an interest in business related legal work. The wide variety of practice areas at Taylor Porter have given me the opportunity to be able to work on business matters in both the litigation and the transactional side of the law.

How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? One of the simplest ways Taylor Porter has helped prepare me to become a lawyer is by allowing me to accompany attorneys to various meetings, closings, and court events. This hands on experience is something that I have not gotten to experience in law school. From attending these events, I have been able to learn how attorneys service the needs of their clients in ways other than legal research.

Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My mentors are
Eddie Hughes and Trey Tumminello. Eddie has taught me to stick with my understanding of the law and that it is okay to have differing opinions than the people around you. As a litigator, you are fighting with the opposing side on who is correct and you need to be able to stay strong in your opinion of the matter. Trey has taught me to trust the skills I have learned in law school and apply them to work. It can be overwhelming if you get a project on a field of law that you are not experienced in and Trey has reminded me that everyone experiences the same feeling.

What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? One of the best things about the Summer Program is that I have been able to work with a variety of people including attorneys, staff, and assistants. I can tell that every person, from the managing partner to the office assistants, genuinely cares about helping me with anything I need. Anytime I have had questions, someone will stop what they are working on to see how they can help. The variety of attorneys has also allowed me the opportunity to work on projects in many fields. This freedom has allowed  me to enjoy the work I have done and not feel like I am forced to work on something I am not interested in.

Darryl Cage Jr., SULC 1L
Darryl Cage Jr. completed his 1L year at Southern University Law Center. He is from Zachary, Louisiana. Earlier this semester, Darryl completed the 2019 Fit to Practice program hosted by LSU. In the upcoming school year, Darryl hopes to be a part of Southern University Law Review. Darryl graduated from LSU having double-majored in English Literature and Philosophy, while minoring in Spanish. While at LSU, Darryl was inducted into the Alpha Lambda chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society.

What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? I have been speaking Spanish fluently since I was fifteen years old, and in college, I earned a minor degree in Spanish. Because of my ability to speak Spanish, I have a strong interest in practicing immigration law. I think it would be a shame for me to be able to speak Spanish fluently and not do so in a professional setting, especially when doing so could be of great service to so many people. Additionally, I have always been interested in the world of business. I never knew how I wanted to get into business, but now that I am in law school, I would love to be on the legal side of business transactions by practicing corporate and transactional law, as well as contract law. Finally, given that my mother has been working in the environmental field for as long as I can remember, growing up and talking with her about certain things that she works on has caused me to develop an interest in practicing environmental law.

How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? The Taylor Porter summer law clerk program has prepared me for becoming a lawyer in multiple ways, but two really stand out to me. Because of the law clerk program, I have learned to be extremely detail oriented and attentive anytime that I listen, speak, or write. Being in a professional environment has taught me to refine and sharpen as it relates to my own demeanor. There is an attainable balance of being a professional and also being a relatable person.

Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My mentors are Adam Thames and Katia Bowman. Adam primarily deals with medical malpractice, a practice area that I previously had little knowledge of and no interest in. However, from doing a few projects for Adam and attending a mediation with him, medical malpractice is now a practice area that I am interested in learning more about and potentially practicing someday. Working with Katia has shown me the importance of being an active listener and making sure to be extremely efficient in terms of the detail of my work. Katia has also kept my interest in practicing immigration law alive, given that she herself does a good deal of immigration work here at the firm.

What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? My favorite part about the Taylor Porter summer program is that I get to work on real cases and help solve real issues that attorneys are faced with. Building on that, I thoroughly enjoy that I get to do assignments in many different areas of law. Being exposed to different practice areas is a great experience because I get to see what it is like to practice in the areas I actually have interest in, as well as learning about and building interest in practice areas that I previously never saw myself being interested in.

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